On Wednesdays on this blog i will look to focus on an aspect of relationship from singleness to dating to marriage – i have a huge heart for relationships and seeing people be in a great space of contentment wherever they may be on the continuum – making the most of where you’re at and finding ways of celebrating and thriving or stepping things up a little.
My most recent best friend [I have a number of these, best is not a ranking figure as in “better than all the rest” but more a descriptive statement of “this is a really quality mate”] is a guy called Bruce Collins or Barista Bruce as he is known on Twitter [follow him @brskln especially if you are an appreciator of coffee] who I met years and years ago at Baptist Summer camp, but who in recent years has become more and more of a really great friend to me.
Our relationship began on somewhat shaky ground if I remember correctly as the group of youth he had brought to Summer Camp was transgressing in some way and I, in whatever role I had on camp that year, had aligned myself with the camp authorities and so I was cross with him and his troops for something or other and he was trying to defend them and I don’t actually remember a whole lot more about that. But a couple of years later I was on camp again as camp pastor and created a space for any of the youth leaders who were struggling with life or love or God or anything and just wanted to talk about it with someone to come and have a meal with me, and I remember a lot of what happened as I got time to really meet Bruce in some of his pain and struggle and our deeper friendship probably started sometime around there.
And there are a LOT of reasons why I love this guy, but one that comes to the fore is that Bruce has thick skin. In the best of ways. He has invited me and allowed me and even encouraged me to watch his life and feel the freedom to speak openly and honestly to him if I see something that is out of line. [and I have done the same with him – I hope I’ve told him that…] And I have done so on a bunch of occasions [and to his great credit he has taken it well every time] and sometimes he has agreed with me and other times he hasn’t. I imagine sometimes I hurt him with the things I said [who ever likes it when someone tells them they’re doing something wrong? I know i don’t!] but he has always listened and then gone back and looked at his life. If he has felt like he needed to change he has done so and often in dramatic ways. And on occasions when he has not, he has come back to me and let me know that he has heard me, but at the moment he doesn’t think it’s a problem.
He has literally lived out one of my favourite friendship verses in the Bible found in Proverbs 27 verse 6 which says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
You see I believe Bruce knows that I love him. And so he knows that if I say something to him that might hurt as he hears it, that I have said it to him because I care about him and think it is something that he needs to hear. And so he is able to trust a ‘wound’ from me. There might be other friends of his who have cheered him on, even when he has been wrong in something. An enemy multiplies kisses.
I have often told my closest friends, ‘I may not be an easy friend, but I am a good friend.’ And I hope that is true. Because if you invite me to speak Truth into your life and help you to become a better person [and believe me I extend that invitation back to the nth degree] then I will do that and hopefully I will get ‘Truth in Love’ right more than I get it wrong.
What about you? Do you have someone like this? Someones? I have a few of them and I value them so much because they help me become a better person. They will jump in if my attitude is out of line. They will question my motivation if it looks like I am doing something for the wrong reasons. They will ask the tough questions. And I LOVE that. I desperately need that in my life. Because I have blind spots. I have areas where I may not be able to see the bigger picture. In my relationship with God or my wife, life on the sports field or in improv, how I spend my time and what I say or write…
So not fat friends per say, but people who Love you and have thick skin and invite you to Love them back well…
I would love to hear a story or two about someone in your life who does this for you…